The nomadic Samoyed people, for whom the Samoyed dog is named, came to northwestern Siberia from central Asia. They depended upon herds of reindeer for food and had to keep on the move so that the reindeer could find sufficient food for themselves. They also depended upon strong hardy spitz dogs to herd the reindeer and to guard them against the fierce predators of the Arctic. They occasionally helped to hunt bears and tow boats and sledges.
AKC Ranking: 67
Family: spitz, Northern (herding)
Area of Origin: Russia (Siberia)
Date of Origin: ancient times
Original Function: herding reindeer, guardian, draft
Today's Function: sled pulling, herding trials
Avg Size of male: Height: 21-23.5 Weight: 45-65
Avg Size of Female: Height: 19-21 Weight: 35-50
Other Name: Samoyedskaya
The nomadic Samoyed people, for whom the Samoyed dog is named, came to northwestern Siberia from central Asia. They depended upon herds of reindeer for food and had to keep on the move so that the reindeer could find sufficient food for themselves. They also depended upon strong hardy spitz dogs to herd the reindeer and to guard them against the fierce predators of the Arctic. They occasionally helped to hunt bears and tow boats and sledges. These dogs lived as part of the family in the hide tents of their people, where one of their "jobs" was to keep the children warm in bed. The first Samoyeds came to England in the late 1800s, but not all these early imports were the pure white the breed is known for today. One of these dogs was presented to Queen Alexandria, who did much to promote the breed. Descendants of the queen's dogs can still be found in modern pedigrees. In 1906, the first Samoyed came to America, originally a gift of Russia's Grand Duke Nicholas. Meanwhile, the breed was becoming a popular sled dog because it was more tractable than other sledding breeds. In the early 1900s, Samoyeds formed part of the sled teams on expeditions to Antarctica and shared in the triumph of reaching the South Pole. The breed's exploits, combined with its glistening good looks, soon won the public's attention in America, and its popularity has grown tremendously since the Second World War. Although the once nomadic Samoyed people have long since settled in one place, the breed they created has journeyed around the world.
Gentle and playful, the Samoyed makes a good companion for a child or person of any age. It is a closely bonded family dog. It is amiable with strangers, other pets and usually, other dogs. It is calm indoors, but this clever, sometimes mischievous breed needs daily physical and mental exercise. If allowed to become bored, it will dig and bark. It is independent and often stubborn, but it is willing to please and is responsive to its owner's wishes. It may tend to herd children.
The Samoyed is active and needs a good workout every day, either in the form of a long walk or jog or a vigorous play session. It likes to pull and herd, and it loves cold weather. It can live outdoors in temperate to cold climates, but it much prefers to live indoors with its human family. Its thick coat needs brushing and combing two to three times a week, daily when shedding.
• Major concerns: CHD
• Minor concerns: gastric torsion
• Occasionally seen: PRA
• Suggested tests: hip, (eye)
• Life span: 10 – 12 years
Form and Function
The Samoyed combines strength, agility, dignity and grace in a general spitz outline. Slightly longer than it is tall, it is nonetheless compact. It has a strong, muscular body that is able to combine power, speed, agility and endurance. It has a quick, agile stride with good reach and drive. Its double coat is heavy and weather resistant. The undercoat is soft and thick, whereas the outer coat is straight and harsh, standing straight out from the body, and glistening with a silver sheen. Its expression is animated, with the characteristic "Samoyed smile" created by the upturned corners of its mouth.